Monday, October 30, 2006

Photogs on Parade

Via News Blues, word of a station that thinks so much of its photog staff - it actually put their bio's online. If that strikes you as no big deal, then you haven't surfed alot of TV station websites. If you had, you'd know most are electronic shrines to stiff-haired talent - generic Kens and Barbies that look strikingly like their on-air opponents across the street, state and nation. Not WTSP. The Tampa, Florida CBS affiliate not only post their lenslingers' names and pictures; they even include background information and examples of their work. Why, it's almost as if the suits at WTSP consider their photog staff to be equal partners in the newsgathering process! Talk about a novel concept...

Okay, so perhaps I'm overselling it. Lots of stations recognize the hard working men and women behind the lens for what they are - the overburdened backbone of their operations. Some even beat WTSP to the punch by including photog blurbs on their websites long ago. But for every forward-thinking powerhouse, there are easily a dozen cess-pool shops where any newsroom member without a stack of glossy headshots and a fresh Sharpie is considered sub-human. Luckily, that doesn't include my employer. El Ocho is known far and wide for harboring intensive lensers. Whatsmore, the on-air cats I work with truly seem to appreciate the skills we pack mules bring to the broadcast. Hell, we were even named medium market Station of the Year by something called the NPPA. Who knew?

Sadly though, there exist many an affiliate where inequality is the status quo - especially in smaller markets, where anchor ego is often inversely proportionate to the region's population. I'm reminded of an o-l-d colleague - a newsreader so vain and vacuous, her co-workers rightly considered her a human cartoon. Once, when a hapless news shooter mistakenly sat in her chair, she lambasted the poor guy for absconding with her throne. "Why, I don't even know that boy's name!" she bragged to a cohort. Come to think of it, I'm having a hard time remembering her name - as she was soon exiled from employ for being quite simply, an abomination. Last I heard, she was slumming on the far end of the public access dial - over-emoting on cue for anyone unlucky enough to have misplaced their remote control.

Perhaps there is a Broadcast God, after all.

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